5 Ways to Create Value for Stakeholders
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As a seasoned business analysis professional, you’re often required to become a nexus of information, synthesising inputs and requirements from multiple data points within an organization.
This process involves verifying sources, validating content, and formulating unbiased, objective problem statements. And it’s precisely these capabilities that set business analysis professionals apart from other functions within an organization.
In many instances, the required data points are scattered across various departments or teams, involving a range of stakeholders, from operational staff to leadership.
Effective stakeholder management is therefore crucial to ensure quality input and set appropriate expectations. The more visibility and depth an analyst has on certain issues, the more robust the strategy formulation and execution will be.
In over a decade of experience as an analyst in the telecommunications industry, I’ve collaborated with top global consultancy firms. One thing I've learned is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to stakeholder management. Factors such as personalities, cultures, backgrounds, and sentiments all come into play.
That said, I've identified five guiding principles that can be applied to create value for stakeholders. Here they are, in no particular order.
Gather insights from various sources to understand the situation. This is a fundamental skill for a business analysis professional, but it can be easily overlooked due to time constraints or complacency.
1. Do Your Homework
Identifying and understanding stakeholders' priorities and challenges before presenting your point is crucial. It also demonstrates your professionalism and shows that you value their input.
2. Discover Their Non-negotiablesAfter understanding the stakeholders’ priorities, it's important to define the scope and understand their boundaries. Identifying what's most valuable or non-negotiable to stakeholders will facilitate your communication.
This approach requires a thorough stakeholder analysis and understanding of their interests, as well as their potential impact on decision-making and implementation processes.
3. Speak Their LanguageHaving the best industry-standard content or solution doesn’t guarantee its intended effect.
The “lost in translation” issue is common and can be minimized by taking the time to "translate" the messaging into a language that stakeholders can relate to.
This could mean using familiar terms, jargon, or metaphors for easier understanding.
4. When in RomeRecognizing the culture and social values of the organization is crucial. Understand their communication style and respect their culture, taboos, and organizational hierarchy.
Following their engagement procedures is also essential, as nobody likes to be forced into a meeting.
At the end of the day, you’re the one who’ll be interacting with the stakeholders. Be up front about your objectives and the reason you're there. Adding a hint of humility and professionalism can go a long way.
5. Be Sincere and Authentic
Let your preparation and effort speak for themselves. Remember, first impressions do last.
The role of a business analysis professional extends beyond just analyzing business needs and requirements. It also involves a deep understanding of stakeholder management and the ability to create value in these relationships.
By adhering to these guiding principles, you can effectively manage stakeholders, leading to more successful project outcomes and value creation for your organization.
For more information on creating value for stakeholders, members can explore IIBA’s KnowledgeHub. Not a member? Join today and unlock your career potential.
About the Author
Khomar translates organizational strategy into tactical agile transformation, crafting a blueprint for success in Telekom Malaysia’s Agile at Scale (A@S) journey. He strategically drives agile adoption across entire organizations, aligning business objectives with agile practices to foster continuous improvement and innovation.